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Published in Demand Generation category on (04/28/2017)

Modern Marketing Experience 2017 Recap: How to Start Your Brand on a Path to the You-to-One Future

I will be asking my team, what can we do help you move beyond 1:1 & build U:1 future where customers are chasing you.
— Laura Ipsen, General Manager, Oracle Marketing Cloud, MME17

If content is our most valuable asset we have, then data needs to be our competitive advantage.
— Kristen O’Hara, CMO at Time Warner, MME17

It’s spring again — the flowers are in bloom, the bees are buzzing, and pollen is floating through the air — which means it’s event season and time for Certain’s Modern Marketing Experience 2017 recap post. That’s right. Certain has sponsored Modern Marketing Experience for the last three years, so this post is becoming something of a tradition for us. But covering this event is much more than a tradition. Indeed, it has become one of the most critical learning exercises for our organization because insights from this event have helped us identify subtle shifts in Oracle’s strategy and focus that will trickle down, impacting not just their customers and partners, but the marketing landscape as a whole.

With this in mind, Modern Marketing Experience 2017 (MME17) can be summed up in one critical moment — that moment during the Markie Awards ceremony when a flying drone delivered a Markie envelope to Adrian Chang’s waiting hands. No other moment captures the zeitgeist of modern marketing as well as this one or at least the one Oracle Marketing Cloud is defining.

It’s not just that machines are now doing the work humans used to do, but that they are doing this work in wonderfully efficient and elegant ways. For marketing, this means the discipline has not only become digital, but also increasingly dependent on artificial intelligence. And if, as pundits claim, humanity is going to be changing more in the next 20 years than in all of human history, we need to start preparing for a future of highways without drivers, education without classrooms, and healthcare without doctors. And that time is now.

But the list of paradoxes above is incomplete without the paradox of a future-oriented company that focuses on its customers, rather than its own products. In this future, a key differentiator for brands competing in a commoditized marketing environment will be the quality of the experiences they provide their customers. In fact, during her keynote address, Laura Ipsen, General Manager of Oracle Marketing Cloud, argued that Oracle’s primary goal is to help its customers and partners prepare for this future. What’s more, she also believes marketing will actually lead the way to developing better customer experiences — more human ones — and these improvements in customer experience will be largely influenced by progress in artificial intelligence. The key will be what Ipsen calls “hyper-personalization” or the sea-change in marketing from mass marketing or One-to-One marketing to what she calls One-to-You marketing.

Laura Ipsen Keynote Address at Modern Marketing Experience 2017

If marketing began as a One-to-Many paradigm or a mass communications game, that all shifted with the advent of digital marketing, which delivered a One-to-One paradigm. For Ipsen, One-to-Many marketing “was about dominating a market with a powerful brand. It was not so much about the customer experience.” And today “our One-to-One future is our present. Data is personalized. The world is now mobile, cross channel, and always on.” But we’re entering, as Ipsen suggests, the beginning of another seismic shift toward One-to-You marketing that will change how we provide customer experience:

If I look across, it’s not just the One-to-Many or the One-to-One, but the One-to-You. This is around new capabilities to create a unique relationship . . . to create that very intimate customer relationship just for that one customer to make them have the experience of a lifetime. To make sure they continue on a lifetime journey with you.

What’s important here is that while we are now close to embracing a One-to-You paradigm, Ipsen sees a time in the not-too-distant future where we will flip One-to-You marketing to You-to-One marketing. When we reach this “friction-free” future, marketers will no longer be chasing data all the time.  Rather, marketers will be able to use technology to unleash their curiosity, intuition, and creativity to ensure customers will be chasing their brands. The marketing evolution Ipsen paints looks something like this: 1:1, 1: Many, 1:U, and in the future, U:1.

But to go beyond the One-to-One marketing dynamic, according to Ipsen, we will need to leverage AI to bring a new kind of hyper-personalization to our customers created by “moments.” By asking questions such as “What creates a heroic moment?” Ipsen has opened a new mode of inquiry that will continually inform how modern marketers work:

The goal is we want customers chasing you, not for you to chase the data. And with the Oracle Marketing Cloud we believe we’re building that future of the You-to-One to help you achieve those heroic marketing moments.

Ipsen, in a later tweet, emphasized OMC’s commitment to building a new customer-centric future, “I will be asking my team, what can we do to help you move beyond 1:1 & build U:1 future where customers are chasing you.”

However, while Ipsen believes that marketers are poised to start delivering game-changing moments to our customers, these moments will be driven not just by artificial intelligence, but by intelligence that is automated. In other words, in this new landscape, artificial intelligence is roughly identical to intelligence automated. AI = IA. Oracle Marketing Cloud best summarized this concept: “It’s not just what AI is, but how you’re going to use AI to create those heroic marketing moments.”

Although Ipsen provides a satisfactory answer to the question, “What creates heroic moments?”, here at Certain we’re more inclined to agree with Kristen O’Hara, CMO of Time Warner, who said in her compelling MME17 session, “If content is our most valuable asset we have, then data needs to be our competitive advantage.” But data isn’t just your brand’s competitive advantage; it’s actually the key to realizing Ipsen’s dream of “hyper-personalization” — of moving beyond One-to-One to a true You-to-One future.

While Oracle is already using AI, most companies have a long way to go before they can start integrating artificial intelligence into their marketing. So what are some things you can start doing right now that will help you move beyond One-to-One and start delivering “heroic moments” to your customers? If artificial intelligence is intelligence automated, then you’ll want to begin to think about how intelligence — your data — can be automated. There are many solutions, specifically CX solutions, that will help you deliver more personalized customer experiences by automating intelligence. But Event Automation, which allows you to engage with your customers in real-time during critical moments at your events by automating intelligence, is the most expedient means to start your brand on a path to U:1.

In some ways, Certain has been anticipating Ipsen’s thought leadership about creating heroic moments for our customers. Indeed, during our own MME17 session, Kristen Alexander, Certain’s VP of Marketing, and Helena Lewis of National Instruments focused on how and why you should use Event Automation to make “every moment count.”

Certain's "Make Every Moment Count" Session at Modern Marketing Experience 2017

In particular, Kristen suggested that Event Automation developed primarily from a need to make events automated, connected to the business, digital, and above all else, personalized.

Below you can see how Event Automation can help marketers hyper-personalize their events by:

  • Capturing and digitizing information about how prospects and customers interact with your brand throughout the entire event lifecycle
  • Connecting event data to marketing automation systems for deep insights to fuel integrated marketing campaigns
  • Engaging your prospect and customers in real-time with contextual content during critical intent-driven moments to nurture leads and drive revenue
  • Measuring and understanding the relative impact of events on revenue

In short, Event Automation enables marketers to achieve a “friction-free” future where they’re no longer “chasing data” and their customers are chasing them. Event Automation can put your brand on the path to true You-to-One.

Overall, this year’s Modern Marketing Experience 2017 was the most successful of the three Modern Marketing conferences Certain has sponsored and attended. But what truly elevated this conference over previous events is not just the rigorous thought leadership from Oracle Marketing Cloud, but its renewed commitment toward helping customers and partners embrace a customer-centric future. We’re moving at light speed toward a future where everything will hinge upon creating heroic moments for our customers. Learning how to gather and automate intelligence so you can be there at the right place and right time when your customers are most responsive will be a key differentiator in this marketing climate. By delivering heroic moments to your customers, Certain and Oracle can help you move beyond One-to-One to realize your own You-to-One future.

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